MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) — A South Florida python hunter, known as the Python Cowboy, recently captured a monster sized snake in the Everglades in a battle that left him bloodied and bruised.
Mike Kimmel is used to catching snakes, which usually measure up to 10 feet long. But last week he got his hands on a giant, which measured 17 feet.
Kimmel, owner of Martin County Trapping & Wildlife Rescue, had gone out to a secluded island in the Florida Everglades where he spotted alligator droppings and a black snake — but then came upon a giant Burmese python that he instantly knew was special.
“My heart started pounding,” Kimmel told CNN. “I’ve caught big ones before, but this one looked extra large.”
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Yesterday’s solo #Everglades islands python hunt was another one for the books! At 8am I headed out into the swamp on my 14’ jon boat in search of an invasive #ManEater and at 11am I found her…. she wasn’t coming without a fight lol. I noticed her almost immediately as soon as we crossed paths, I could barely contain my excitement. She definitely was not afraid of me and started to slowly cruise through the vegetation as I carefully walked next to her trying to gauge exactly how large she was… because of all the grass and weeds it was hard to tell but I could tell she was an absolute monster. Her being tangled in vegetation makes the capture that much more difficult, a snake this size will use the vegetation as leverage and can literally pull you into the swamp, no stopping 150lbs of SOLID muscle. I knew going for her head first would be the easiest and safest capture method but I couldn’t turn down the chance to grab her by the tail and dance with the devil herself! As soon as I grabbed ahold of her I sealed my fate lol… no turning back now, she was coming for me! She immediately started to battle it out, taking strikes and pulling me into some tall grass with her, making it difficult to dodge her strikes… she was able to successfully get a bite on me. Only got me once but that’s all it took… I was punctured quite deep on my bicep and forearm, piercing an artery and hitting some nerves, I was lucky she didn’t latch on and that I was able to pull out of it. After loosing about a gallon of blood, lol, I was able to tire her out and get her under control. I then used a snake bag I had on my waist to tourniquet my arm because I was getting worried about how much blood I was loosing, better safe then sorry. I then had to drag all 150lbs of her alive, working to control my breathing so I didn’t pass out from blood loss and the extreme heat that day, I would have been screwed. After getting her to my boat, where my suppressed .22 pistol was, I was able to euthanize her before leaving (I didn’t have the proper bags for live transport because she was too large lol). Unofficial measurement: 17’ WITH kinks #RECORDBREAKER? Videos and more info to come!!
He was definitely intimated by the snake, he said, but he isn’t known as the Python Cowboy for nothing.
After a brief wrestle and a nasty bite, which was all caught in his YouTube video, Kimmel was able to grab the female snake’s head and successfully drag her back to his boat, where he euthanized her.
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Here is a short clip from my capture on Monday of the #ManEater I’ve been after… she didn’t come peacefully!! Full length video of the entire battle will be up on my YouTube by Friday, be patient y’all… it’s gonna be a doozie lol! #savetheglades #conservation #invasivespecies #trappermike #pythoncowboy #martincountytrapping #everglades #florida #hunting #wildlife #floridawildlife #swamp #fight #battle #struggle #wrangling #pythons #bountyhunter
Kimmel is waiting on state authorities for an official measurement. When he measured the snake at home, it was about 17 feet long and he estimates that it weighed about 130 to 150 pounds, he said.
The largest python captured in Florida was 18 feet, 8 inches long, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The pythons began turning up in the Everglades in the 1980s, most likely abandoned by pet owners when they got too big to handle. Some may have escaped from a breeding facility destroyed during Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Now wildlife officials estimate there might be as many as 100,000 pythons living in the Everglades. The snakes kill indigenous animals including racoons, otters, birds and even alligators.
Kimmel plans to sell the snake’s skin on his website. He said he will also receive a payment from Florida’s Python Action Team, which pays people to remove the invasive species.
“I was proud that I came out on top and I knew that I was going to get a good paycheck out of it,” Kimmel said. “But most of all, a snake that size can really get to anything, so I was thrilled to get this dangerous predator out of the ecosystem.”
(©2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company, contributed to this report.)